Tuesday, June 7, 2011

THERE'S A FUNGUS AMONG US!

Yesterday on a walkabout in the back yard, I noticed something odd. A tree stump at the front corner of the house looked all white. Distracted by something else, I forgot to investigate...until this afternoon.

There is an amazing growth of white fungus all over it - sticking out one-half to one inch - on the stump.  Satellite colonies have also appeared on the ground nearby.

I've never seen anything like it.

Fortunately, I just met a retired botanist. Perhaps between the two of us we can identify it. I hope it's not poisonous, with the dogs milling about the yard.

In any case, I'll have to figure out how to control it before it takes over everything.

Tree stump from a distance - beautiful but strange

Closer view

Closer yet  - the leaf is about an inch in width.
Another close-up
Satellite colonies on the ground several feet from the stump
Come back tomorrow to see how the story unfolds. Hopefully I can get control of this amazing organism before it gets control of us!

June 8:

My gardener said it's a good fungus and to leave it.  I trust his judgement.  Also got support for that decision from another gardener whom I respect a lot.  So, for the time being, we'll just let the fungus do its work and see what happens.

-bjd

3 comments:

  1. Any chance this could be a lichen? Dictyonema glabratum looks similar - do a google image search for the name and see if they look right to you.

    If you don't mind, I'd love to make an email connection with your retired botanist. I have taken up botany in my retirement and would really like to learn something from a local professional. Would you mind writing to me personally about this? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, I don't think the Google images for Dictyonema glabratum match well enough. Thanks for the suggestion that it might be a lichen, though. I'll follow that thread on Google images and see what comes up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. After searching through many images, I've come to the conclusion that this is a foliose (leaf-like) type of lichen. While I've seen several that are very similar, so far I haven't found a dead ringer.

    ReplyDelete